Tricky draws for Spurs and Liverpool
Soccer:Tottenham and Liverpool were both handed Italian jobs after being paired with Lazio and Udinese in today’s Europa League group-stage draw. Spurs — denied a Champions League spot despite finishing fourth in the Premier League after Chelsea’s European Cup triumph — were placed in Group J, which also contained Greek club Panathinaikos and Maribor of Slovenia.
Three-time winners Liverpool will also face mega-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala and Swiss side Young Boys in Group A. They and Tottenham were both top seeds but were arguably handed tougher groups than Newcastle, who were seeded third ahead of their first European campaign for six years. The Magpies were in Group D along with Bordeaux, Club Brugge and Maritimo.
Holders Atletico Madrid will face Hapoel Tel Aviv, Viktoria Plzen and newcomers Academica Coimbra from neighbouring Portugal in the group stage of this season's competition. Athletic Bilbao, beaten by Atletico in last season's final face Olympique Lyon, Sparta Prague and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona in another of the 12 groups that comprise the opening stage of the competition.
The group stage begins on September 20th, with this season's final scheduled for Amsterdam on May 15th next year.
Europa League group stage
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona